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Rescooped by Susan Poon from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time

Why Writers Are The Heroes Of Our Time | Books and More | Scoop.it
That is my perfect definition of a writer; someone who dedicates his or her life to searching for the meaning of that life and the lives of others through the marvelous and mysterious gift of storytelling....

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, April 3, 2014 1:22 PM
3 April 2014 I've written in the past about my concern regarding a fairly recent practice of authors publishing articles that ride the gray line between sharing insights about literature and self-serving promotions of their latest book.

References to an article's author's own published works, if mentioned at all, used to be mentioned in a very brief italicized about the author bio at the end of the article.

HOWEVER, I also must admit that this particular article, in spite of its embedded self-promotion, hits a home run or two and maybe a few two and three-baggers. 
Gotta love ...
"The reason being, a storyteller is the keeper of the flame of a culture, the moral compass for a community, the one who sacrifices their own safety in anonymity by putting themselves out there.

Perhaps not a home run but maybe a solid double or triple...
"Writers are born and spend their formative years learning the craft with an apprenticeship at the canvas of experience. Science is all about trial and error and never examines what things mean where writers do the opposite - they strive to answer that question by telling the story of a character."

Again, not a home run perhaps, but maybe a solid double or triple...
"In the end, yes, we do know some statesmen, scientist and money makers of the past but when you really dig deep in the annals of human existence, it's the poets who we know. The writers who told us about the people they were and who their people were. We read them to know about ourselves. That is why they are as relevant as if they wrote today."

__________
I must admit, however, that I still have a serious discomfort in the shift from "afterword" to "embedded self-promotion."  It is similar to the serious discomfort I've felt since the news media transitioned from making a clear distinction between what is to be perceived as news and what is to be understood to be editorial opinion.

btw... I might well decide to share this article with students as an example of the kind of informational reading worth examining in terms of practicing the skills associated with informational literacy.

Just one example. Vetere attempts to distinguish the power of literature with the shortcomings of smartphones. Is that a fair comparison?

I don't really think so. And, more so, the comparison relies upon the reader not having ";close reading"; skills.

My reasoning? The value of reading literature depends upon the literature selected to be read. Yes. the best writers reach for the truths Vetere suggests merit them the title of hero. But, as there are the greats in literary history, there are also the "pretty goods," the "okays," the "shameless panderers," the "dubious," and those who reach for the lowest levels of endeavors in pursuit of low-hanging profitability 

While at the same time, our smart phones are capable of bringing us the same very wide spectrum of possibilities.

To cherry-pick the most admirable levels of benefits of literature while cherry-picking only the features of smartphones that do not address the kinds of benefits that literature is capable of bringing is a false comparison.

And the ability to recognize false comparisons whether we are accessing what is put forward in commercials, political debates, five-paragraph essays or any means by which opinion and fact are mashed together is a skill more critical than ever in the current era of talking points and choreographed "staying on "OUR" message" regardless of attempt to challenge that message with significant and valid counter arguments.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com  ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

 

 

 

Rescooped by Susan Poon from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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New science says literary fiction helps us understand one another

New science says literary fiction helps us understand one another | Books and More | Scoop.it
“Understanding others’ mental states is a crucial skill that enables the complex social relationships that characterize human societies.” - David Comer Kidd and Emanuele Castano, “Reading Literary ...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 25, 2013 11:23 AM

 

This particular article picks up on one of the more common threads in those commentaries, namely that science is providing data-based evidence of what those of us who love and teach literary fiction have known in their guts for a long time in spite of the fact that so many of our literary friends have articulated that point quite clearly. Atticus Finch said it out loud, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

 

Isn't that a familiar message? How many echoes from great literary fiction come to mind? Until you climb into that old jalopy with Tom Joad and head out for California hoping against hope? Until you get kicked out of the Castle of Thunder-ten-Tronckh as take that bumpy ride with Candide? Or travel alongside Gulliver to insanely unfamiliar places that seem sooo familiar?

 

So as I read this third or fourth followup article to the original research, my question was what does its author Andrea Badgley bring to the conversation. The answer is plenty!

 

For  example, I did not know that "there is an entire journal, Scientific Study of Literature dedicated to pursuit of this research." If you're like me, you'll have to take Badgley's word for it that this journal is of the quality one expects from journals that are peer reviewed since a quick Google search revealed that the journal itself is probably well out of most of our budget limitations.

 

Badgley also references the conversation of how literary fiction relates to  the "Theory of Mind" (ToM) which she defines (quoting from the original study)  as " 'the capacity to identify and understand others' subjective states,' allowing us to detect and infer others' emotions, beliefs, and intentions."  

 

It seems to me that there are several, okay way too many, examples to be found in the black and white polarization of public discourse that has caused extensive gridlocking  of public opinion and government response to public opinion, that too many of us no longer are even capable of detecting and inferring others' emotions, beliefs and intentions well-enough to take those emotions, beliefs, and intentions that are not our own into consideration as sometimes being valid, but diffeent concerns.

 

As a result, compromise has almost become a "dirty word" of sorts. And, "for the common good" has devolved into a tug of war where too many believe and even profess that those "on the opposing side of the rope"  are either idiots or unpatriotic. This black and white "tug of war" does not bode well.

 

So if the Theory of Mind has merit then perhaps literary reading ought to be given an increased presence in the classroom or at the very least, an increased presence in the assessment of literary reading which has been reduced significantly since assessing the "skill set" associated with literary reading is so difficult to accomplish. 

 

Let me pause and clarify that last statement. The ELA Common Core State Standards for literary reading have been quite controversial in that there has been much concern expressed regarding the  PERCEIVED decreasing percentage of literary reading in relationship to informational reading. This is technically a misperception in that the Common Core State Standards suggest that the reading standards are to be applied across the campus so that in effect, the percentages of each type of reading may well be about the same as they have been given the amount of informational reading that has always been done in "other curricular areas."

 

However, that being said, one need only read up on the percentages of assessment questions  for each type of reading on the Smarter Balance tests, particularly in the area of numbers and quality of the literary reading questions, to see that even if the percentages established in the standards are actually reasonable, given the emphasis on the assessment of the standards achievement there are clear indications that smart money would bet that improving informational reading would be a much quicker way to raise a school's performance stats than improving literary reading would.

 

And, history is fairly full of evidence that teaching to the "power standards" (those that are more likely to raise a school's scores) will have a de facto influence on whether or not literary reading continues to receive its due attention at staff and budget meetings. 

 

This brings me to what is, in my mind, the most significant contribution that this article brings to the conversation. That is that although "literary fiction is not (easily) quantifiable or, frankly, definable," what is it that literary fiction brings to the curriculum that separates it from the much less defendable "pop fiction"?

 

What does literary fiction do "for us" that may well be a solid source for developing incredibly critical skill sets in the a flat world so that our students will find themselves better prepared to succeed in a global world if they can work together with people of different "emotions, beliefs, and intentions"  in considerate respectful  (kind) and civilized ways? 

 

The biggest nugget in this goldmine of well-considered ideas for me was the bulleted list that appears about half-way through the article. By listing the distinctions between literary reading and pop literature, it becomes quite clear that the former causes us to exercise our minds in ways that are absolutely critical and yet seriously under appreciated in most classrooms.

 

Finally, the article ends with what is almost a sidetrip into the author's personal regrets for not having been really clear on the value of literary reading while in college where she still thought of reading as primarily a source of great pleasure rather than a pleasurable way of absorbing great wisdom. 

 

I was intrigued by her confession that her choice to pursue what she believed was her passion for science was a bit misdirected. She mistook her passion for learning about science for a passion about doing science. A distinction that a great many people recognize as an important element of the Common Core State Standards in its refocusing attention on assessing what they can do and will able to do with knowledge over merely what knowledge they have accumulated.

 

 I had not previously realized that the slight hesitation I'd felt ever since the concept of encouraging students to pursue their passions became a "THE mantra" thrown around department meeting and educaitonal conference presentations as though it was an unquestionable trump card in educational reform conversations.  

 

Of course, motivation and intellectual engagement is greatly enhanced when students are allowed to pursue their existing perceptions of their "passions." But, the downside as I have always perceived my "slight hesitation" was that truthfully, if I had focused only upon my existing passions during my high school years, I' would probably have wound up in jail rather than in college. It was only by chance that my experience in high school pursuing a relationship with a girl I had never even spoken to who I nevertheless believed I was madly in love with, that got me motivated to talk my way into an advanced English class that I knew she was going to be in. And, it was in that English class where a "god" of a teacher found a way to plant the seed of a new interest that I don't believe I would ever have explored if I hadn't been required to, found a way to engage me in literary reading to such a degree that I chose to completely revise my own understandings of what I really wanted to do with my life as an adult.

 

As a result, much in the same way that the author of this article discovered that some of her early passions turned out to be regrets later in life, I came to actually regret that in my senior yearbook where I was featured as being the male student with the best personality had become a source of embarrassment  as I had by the time the yearbook was distributed,  discovered that much of the personality for which I had been selected for that recognition was based upon my having mastered the art of being a friendly class clown much more interested in the attention  I'd received by my classmates as a result of my sometimes thoughtless sense of what might amuse my classmates.

 

I'll just leave it at that. I live with regrets about the unrecognized cruelty of sexist, racist, and homophobic "I was just joking" humor upon which I too often relied upon to get laughs.

 

So, yes! Encourage a pursuit of existing passion, but enourage a constant contemplation of the depth of understanding of those early passions. And, find engaging ways to help students explore the possibilities that teenage passions may be much less important to them as they transition from teens to actual adults.

 

And, that's where depth of character may rest upon the discovery of one's unrecognized areas of shallowness of character. It's a delicate art this business of ours. It is not easy to make suggestions about refiining one's passions without sounding like we're discouraging them from pursuing those passions.

 

But thankfully, storytelling has long been an engaging and pleasureable way of coaxing ourselves into paying attention to ideas to which we'd not previously given enough thought. 

 

 

25 Nov 2013

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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What Makes A Good Movie Adaptation? - Lifehacker Australia

What Makes A Good Movie Adaptation? - Lifehacker Australia | Books and More | Scoop.it
What Makes A Good Movie Adaptation?
Lifehacker Australia
Film adaptations are a tricky business — make too many changes and you're guaranteed to upset existing fans (see Watchmen).
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Orson Welles, Our Shakespeare - New Yorker (blog)

Orson Welles, Our Shakespeare - New Yorker (blog) | Books and More | Scoop.it
New Yorker (blog)
Orson Welles, Our Shakespeare
New Yorker (blog)
This week, writing in the magazine about a pair of Shakespeare adaptations by Orson Welles, I call Welles “the Shakespeare of cinema. ...
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COLUMN: Where Film And Literature Meet - Columnists - The ...

COLUMN: Where Film And Literature Meet - Columnists - The ... | Books and More | Scoop.it
I myself am a lover of both literature and film because of the unique ability to show off all of humanity's intricacies, so I'm not critical of little inaccuracies or certain character omissions in literary adaptations in film.
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Classic Literature Film Adaptations Week: Comparing Two Versions of "Pride and Prejudice"

Classic Literature Film Adaptations Week: Comparing Two Versions of "Pride and Prejudice" | Books and More | Scoop.it
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...one of the most prominent powers of literature is its ability to promote empathy—and this without... - Elia Mirca

...one of the most prominent powers of literature is its ability to promote empathy—and this without... - Elia Mirca | Books and More | Scoop.it
…one of the most prominent powers of literature is its ability to promote empathy—and this without the reader ever noticing what’s going on.
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10 Must-Read Books with Film Adaptations: Read These First before Watching ... - International Business Times AU

10 Must-Read Books with Film Adaptations: Read These First before Watching ... - International Business Times AU | Books and More | Scoop.it
10 Must-Read Books with Film Adaptations: Read These First before Watching ...
International Business Times AU
The trend in the film industry nowadays is to find an amazing novel and then turn it into a film.
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Family Filmgoer reviews 'Thor: The Dark World,' 'Ender's Game' and more - Washington Post

Family Filmgoer reviews 'Thor: The Dark World,' 'Ender's Game' and more - Washington Post | Books and More | Scoop.it
Family Filmgoer reviews 'Thor: The Dark World,' 'Ender's Game' and more Washington Post Charles Dickens's classic novel about a poor boy who grows up to become a gentleman after inheriting a fortune from a mysterious benefactor has retained its...
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The Book Thief Review: Words Lift the Human Spirit - Movie Fanatic

The Book Thief Review: Words Lift the Human Spirit - Movie Fanatic | Books and More | Scoop.it
Arab Times Kuwait English Daily The Book Thief Review: Words Lift the Human Spirit Movie Fanatic The Book Thief, based on the bestselling novel by Markus Zusak, arrives from director Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) in a page-to-screen effort worthy...
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'Great Expectations,' 3 stars - azcentral.com

'Great Expectations,' 3 stars - azcentral.com | Books and More | Scoop.it
azcentral.com 'Great Expectations,' 3 stars azcentral.com But their roles are too slight to carry the weight of this formal affair, which should be familiar (perhaps overly so) to anyone who stayed sufficiently awake through high-school English...
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Ars Technicast, Episode 37: Maybe you should have read the book

Ars Technicast, Episode 37: Maybe you should have read the book | Books and More | Scoop.it
Not all adaptations of books to film and TV are created equal. (Book to film adaptations: is it better when you didn't read the book?
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DO Do an English Degree

DO Do an English Degree | Books and More | Scoop.it
VOIX Fashion has taking something of a sabbatical this week because I would like to draw our readers’ attention to VOIX Education’s article from Monday entitled ‘Don’t Do an English Degree’...
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Page: Finding our character in fiction - Albany Times Union

Page: Finding our character in fiction
Albany Times Union

 

Aristotle said that the function of drama is to evoke pity and fear in the audience. So we need strong, complicated and disagreeable characters to keep us reading, keep us watching. When we encounter these fictional people in the pages of books or in movies, a part of what we do is identify with them, in spite of ourselves. I mean, Dostoyevsky couldn't have come up with a character as morbidly sympathetic as Raskolnikov in "Crime and Punishment" if he didn't, on some level, know that it's a reliable warp in human nature that tempts some people to believe that murder is admissible — at least for an extraordinary person, such as Raskolnikov fancies himself he might be.

 


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Lifetime network promises 'Flowers in the Attic' film to be true to the book - keene-equinox

Lifetime network promises 'Flowers in the Attic' film to be true to the book
keene-equinox
The 1979 best seller book, “Flowers in the Attic” has returned to the twenty-first century as a film adaptation to premiere on Lifetime network.
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Better Than The Book: The Tricky Business of Judging Adaptations - Film School Rejects

Better Than The Book: The Tricky Business of Judging Adaptations - Film School Rejects | Books and More | Scoop.it
Better Than The Book: The Tricky Business of Judging Adaptations Film School Rejects In addition to being admittedly subjective, the idea of ranking the best or worst book-to-film adaptations is a fruitless effort for at least one other reason:...
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How 'Hunger Games' and YA lit are re-shaping the Hollywood blockbuster - Digital Spy

How 'Hunger Games' and YA lit are re-shaping the Hollywood blockbuster - Digital Spy | Books and More | Scoop.it
How 'Hunger Games' and YA lit are re-shaping the Hollywood blockbuster Digital Spy When JK Rowling sold the film rights to her first four Harry Potter novels in 1999, few could have predicted the lasting impact this would have on both the literary...
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How Do Film Adaptations of Books, Such As 'The Great Gatsby ...

How Do Film Adaptations of Books, Such As 'The Great Gatsby ... | Books and More | Scoop.it
Rather than consider how good is a film adaptation (or how faithful, a separate issue), I'm interested in what difference a movie makes to the continued life of the book. Fiction Catalog: A Literary Foxtrot.
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Joe Wright In Talks To Helm ‘Pan’ For Warner Bros

Joe Wright In Talks To Helm ‘Pan’ For Warner Bros | Books and More | Scoop.it
EXCLUSIVE: Joe Wright is negotiating to direct Pan, the Jason Fuchs-scripted take on the Peter Pan myth. This is all just coming together. Greg Berlanti is (I'm loving all these live-action film adaptations!
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Greater Expectations: Five Classic Novels That Deserve Film Adaptations - AllMediaNY

Greater Expectations: Five Classic Novels That Deserve Film Adaptations - AllMediaNY | Books and More | Scoop.it
AllMediaNY Greater Expectations: Five Classic Novels That Deserve Film Adaptations AllMediaNY When attempting to find new source material for films, it's easy to see why many filmmakers tend to go straight for the classics – classic literature,...
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What Your Favorite Fairy Tales Would Look Like Today

What Your Favorite Fairy Tales Would Look Like Today | Books and More | Scoop.it
If characters like Cinderella, Snow White and Mulan were living in 2013, what would their stories look like?

Via Ana Margarida Ramos
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10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature

10 of the Most Powerful Female Characters in Literature | Books and More | Scoop.it
[Editor's note: In celebration of the holidays, we're spending the next two Tuesdays by counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #12, was originally published March 3rd.]...
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Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness

Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs. Literary Greatness | Books and More | Scoop.it
Some say the number of Mormons in sci-fi, fantasy and children’s fiction reflect teachings about optimism and a lack of comfort taking up topics like sex. ('#Mormons Offer Cautionary Lesson on Sunny Outlook vs.
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Review: 'The Book Thief' Is an Enchanting Story About Finding Hope in Dark Times - Hollywood.com

Review: 'The Book Thief' Is an Enchanting Story About Finding Hope in Dark Times - Hollywood.com | Books and More | Scoop.it
Hollywood.com Review: 'The Book Thief' Is an Enchanting Story About Finding Hope in Dark Times Hollywood.com Fans of the novel will most likely find this a comforting sign of the faithful adaptation about to unfurl before them, but it's hard not to...
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Westmont Downtown: Film Adaptations of English Literature, Dr. Cheri Larsen Hoeckley, April 11, 2013

For the entire collection of Westmont College's lectures, chapels and events, go to http://itunes.apple.com/us/institution/westmont-college/id394017358.
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